2010 Archive

The Adversity Advantage – Excerpt #4

The start of a new year is always a good time to reflect upon the past and to look forward to the future. It is a chance to rethink our attitudes and viewpoints. Rather than falling into predictable patterns and thinking the same old ways, we can make changes and try new approaches that will yield better results.

Support Matt—vote now, vote often!

Mike Moniz, CEO of Circadence, was a major sponsor of our Soldiers to the Summit Expedition. His son, Matt, is a nominee for National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. This summer, at age 12, with his dad, Matt climbed to the highest peak in all 50 states, including formidable and dangerous Denali (20,320') -- in just 43 days. Matt is also well on his way to climbing the Seven Summits, with Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua already added to his Denali feat. Please vote for Matt.

Seasons Greetings!

As the end of the year approaches, I look back on a 2010 that was exhausting, but exciting and fulfilling too. I had many highlights but the absolute apex was my Soldiers to the Summit Expedition in October. I was recently combing through www.soldierstothesummit.org and found two letters, one from the mother of our soldier teammate, Mat Nyman, and the second from Brian Smith, who leads 3DATS, one of our sponsors. It's a satisfying feeling to know this climb made a difference in both of their lives.

BrainPort wins major grant

For a couple of years now, I have been testing an exciting technology called BrainPort, which helps blind people "see" via a camera and a device that translates images into sensations on the tongue. It's pretty amazing stuff!

Full Scholarships to Cambodia

Students, would you like to visit Cambodia for 18-days next summer...for free?! If you are in high school and between 15 and 17 years, you can apply for a fully-funded cross-cultural exchange program that is operated by one of my favorite organizations, Global Explorers.

Farewell to Willa, Hello to Uri

Many don’t know that at the beginning of last summer, my family and I had to say goodbye to Willa, my guide dog of eight years. Willa was a gentle little lady, beautiful and dainty, and incredibly smart. However, she was actually a “reject.” She had gone to a blind guy, who didn’t have very good mobility skills, and Willa would take advantage of him—when he wasn’t paying attention at the grocery store, she’d lead him to the dog food aisle. When he’d command her to lead him to the front exit, she’d take him around in a big circle right back to the dog food isle.

1st International Blind Climbing Comp

This weekend, my friend Koichiro Kobayashi (better known as Koba) will be running the 1st International Blind Climbing Competition, which is being held in the Chiba Prefecture (about 30 minutes from downtown Tokyo). This is a major event that is sponsored by the Japanese Mountaineering Association. I was invited to compete but regrettably I had a scheduling conflict. I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2005 with Koba, and was actually part of his wedding ceremony at the base of the mountain.

Book Release - The Summit

My friend and guide, Eric Alexander, has just released his own book. Entitled The Summit: Faith Beyond Everest's Death Zone, this is his account of our famous climb, as well as our ascents of Elbrus and Kosciusko. Eric was also with me on Ama Dablam and Alpamayo. In addition, he has lead other disabled climber up other summits (including Denali, Aconcagua, and Kilimanjaro) and he teaches disabled skiing at Vail. He also directs Adventures Beyond Limits, an organization that educates and encourages youth with disabilities in the outdoors.

Expedition News

Our Soldiers To The Summit expedition is continuing to attract media attention around the nation. In the Phoenix newspaper, Dan Sidles and Kevin Cherilla were featured in a big article. And recently Chad Butrick and I were guests on the morning show of our NBC television station in Denver (click the link for an article and video of our appearance).

The Adversity Advantage – Excerpt #3

Here in the United States, we are celebrating Thanksgiving. This is our annual day to take stock and acknowledge all of our blessings. Even when there is adversity in your life, no matter how great, there is always something for which we can give thanks. This excerpt from my book, The Adversity Advantage, drives that point home. It definitely makes us thankful for all the ways we can influence our lives and futures.

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